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How to Disable BitLocker Encryption on Windows 10 and 11

A blue, glowing shield with a padlock on it, representing tech and data security, encryption, and online privacy.

Windows 10 and 11’s BitLocker feature, for Professional and Enterprise editions, encrypts your drive to help keep your data secure. If you don’t want this encryption for some reason, it’s easy to disable BitLocker and decrypt your drive. We’ll show you how to do that.

Table of Contents

Is Disabling BitLocker Safe?
Turn Off BitLocker Encryption on Windows 10 or 11

Is Disabling BitLocker Safe?

If you’re concerned about privacy and security, know that removing BitLocker encryption makes your drive data more accessible in certain situations. For example, if you use a dual-boot PC, the other operating system can access the data stored on your drive if you’ve disabled BitLocker. Also, if your laptop gets stolen or you lose it, whoever has it can access the unencrypted data on your machine’s drive.

If your concern is with remote hackers and thieves accessing your drive’s data while you’re connected to the internet, keep in mind that BitLocker doesn’t protect against that; your data is already decrypted while you’re using the machine. It’s the job of your firewall, your antivirus software, and yourself as the user to protect you from online threats. A person or another operating system with physical access to your device will be your main concern if you choose to proceed.

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Turn Off BitLocker Encryption on Windows 10 or 11

To disable BitLocker on Windows 10 or Windows 11, you’ll follow these steps. We used a Windows 11 PC below to demonstrate the steps, but Windows 10 is virtually the same.

To get started, open the “Start” menu, search for “Control Panel,” and select “Control Panel” in the search results.

Select "Control Panel" in the search results.

When Control Panel opens, click “System and Security.”

Choose "System and Security."

On the “System and Security” page, choose “BitLocker Drive Encryption.”

Select "BitLocker Drive Encryption."

Next to the drive where you’ve enabled BitLocker, click “Turn Off BitLocker.”

Select "Turn Off BitLocker."

Select the “Turn Off BitLocker” option.

Windows will now start decrypting the contents of your drive, which can take quite some time, especially if your drive has a lot of content on it. In the meantime, you can continue to work with your files as usual.

Your drive is now decrypted and you can access the data on it however you want.

If you’re looking for an alternative to BitLocker, consider using Veracrypt, which is a free and open-source encryption tool.

RELATED: How to Secure Sensitive Files on Your PC with VeraCrypt

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